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Year 3, Edition 8 - (22) 

Special edition for WTM - London 

Price: 3 lv. 


In February 2005 in occasion of the XXI I International tourist market "Vacations" 

for a third consecutive year Tourism and recreation magazine will bestow his 
Golden prizes on the best hotel/ restaurant, Bulgarian and foreign tour operator, 
mayor who has succeed to transform his municipality in preferable tourist desti- 
nation/ media and journalist/ investor/ hunting area/ balneological centre and face 
of tourism 2004. All nominations will be published in six foreign editions having 
agreement of collaboration and exchange of nominations with Tourism and recre- 
ation and will be included in their electronic sites. All nominations will be pub- 
lished in the electronic sites in Bulgarian language and in English language. 

We expect your comments for the best hotel, restaurant, tour operator in Bulgaria. 

e-mail: ; fax: +359 2/ 980 6710 


History and traditions 4 p. 

The magic of Bulgarian Folklore 

Nikolina Chakardakova, Krasimira Churtova 6 p. 

Cultural heritage 8 p. 

Bulgarian archaeology 10 p. 

The region of Kyustendil 12 p. 

Flora & Fauna 22 p. 

Park Dancing bears 24 p. 

The St. George Monastery 26 p. 

Mountains s . 30 p. 

Bansko, resort for all seasons.... 3. 32 p. 

Borovets. „ . 40 p. 

The Strandja, periwinkle ,,... % 42 p. 

Black sea 44 p. 

Balchik, the black sea pearl... 48 p. 

Mineral springs 51 p. 

Smolyan Region, natural generator of health 52 p. 

Geographical centre .54 p. 

Boom on the real estate market in Bansko over recent 

two years '..^Ife 60 p. 

Hotels, Restaurants, Touroperators & Travel Agencies ,.63 p. 

Your partners in Bulgaria 67 p. 


Using the information bank of Tourism and Recreation Magazine will find the exact infor- 
mation about Bulgaria - where to rest, where to stay, which touroperators to chose, the 

appropriate business partner for you. 

We expect your questions on e-mail: 

You can find additional information on our websites and 

Your necessary information about tourism in Bulgaria. 

Daker SP Ltd, publisher of Tourism and Recreation magazine. 

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmammmm..., W 

The territory of Bulgaria was inhabited still in the remotest an- 
tiquity. Pre-historic finds in some caves evidence the existence of 
intensive life on this land still in the Neolithic. The contemporary terri- 
tory of Bulgaria used to be the core of the Thracian civilization which 
dominated over the Balkan peninsula before the new era. In the 
$ 4th century B.C. the nowadays Bulgarian territories belonged to 
the state of Philip of Macedonia, and later on they were a part 
£ of the Empire of Alexander the Great. In the 1st century A.D. 
""Sthe Roman Empire started conquering the Balkan peninsula; 
Byzanthine, the successor of the Roman Empire, used to 
rule over all the Bulgarian territory up to the 
7th century A.D. 

At the end of the 7th century (the year 681) the Bulgarian 
state was established and it united the local Slavonic tribes and 
the proto Bulgarians, who came from the proto-Bulgarian state 
which at that time existed in the region between the Black Sea 
and the Caspian Sea. Still in the 9th century it established itself 
as one of the three biggest states in Europe, together with the 
Byzanthine Empire and the Empire of Karl the Great. In the year 
855 the brothers Cyril and Methodius invented the Slavonic al- 
phabet; after Christianity was adopted as official religion, this 
alphabet was accepted in Bulgaria and from here it was later on 
spread in other countries (such as Russia, Serbia). 

* I 




> / 

According to a tradition that has with stood for centuries, a 
folk carnival is organized in the village of Shiroka Luka in the first 
days of March every year. To this day a central place in the car- 
nival is given to the group of adolescents and young men who 
are changed beyond recognition in their awe-inspiring leather 
and fur masks. They perform ancient scenes and dances to the 
rhythm of hundreds of bells tied to their bodies. 

The rite sare fixed in the calendar to the Monday of the first 
Week before Lent - a day reffered to in this region as "Pes Mon- 
day", hence the derived local name of the masked, i.e. pessyatsi 
or pessyatski starsti (pes old men). 

A typical feature of the ritual costumes of the pessyatsi from 
Shiroka Luka are the masks of goat- or sheepskin, with the 
fur on the outside, which covers the whole head. Some of the 
masks resemble animals (rams, he-goats, oxen, etc.) and they 
have horns, prominent ears and muzzles, as well as artificial 
teeth made of onion. 

The pessyatsi are usually attired in the characteristic dress 
worn by the local women - old and patched. Below this garment 
they stuff straw and mould a hunch on their backs. On their 
waist they wear belts with bells of various sizes and shapes. 
The decoration of these men also includes strings of dried red 
peppers and onions, martenitsas, broken horseshoues, etc. 
The "armament" of the pessyatsi consisting of wooden "swords" 
and crutches for yarn. 

On Pes Monday, early in the morning, the group gathers in 
the village square and starts its rounds in the village, observing 
the ritual silence all the time. People suffering from various ill- 
nesses lie on their way, because the popular belief is that they 
will be healed if a pessyak jumps over them. The villagers get out 
in front on their homes and offer various products to the pessyat- 
si - wheat, flour, eggs, butter, cheese, etc. - and invite them to 
dance in their garden so that their trees would bear more fruit. 

The ritual ends with setting fire to the hunches of straw on 
the backs of the disguished men. 

The ritual perforemed for fertility, for abundance and for health 
reproduces some of the basic mythological notions about the cre- 




trembles, something blazes up and the voice is a voice of a 
nightingale. You are transported into a fairy tale; you breathe 
feeling the steps of the dance. The Nightingale" is singing 
and the song drifts, drifts over the mountain, the beauti- 
ful Pirin Mountain and you forget everything. The beautiful 
folklore costumes, made with such love, embroidered with 
hard labour and skill, give the color of this enchanting view. 
The authenticity and hue of old Bulgarian embroidery, the 
marvelously embroidered female aprons, the knitted socks 
and stockings, the woven rugs and fleecy rugs, typical of 
the people in the Pirin region of Bulgaria, create a unique 
originality and atmosphere on the stage. 

"The Magic of Bulgarian folklore" is Nikolina Chakarda- 
kova's new incredible performance. It is an original progress 
of her creative quest and view in the native folklore presen- 
tation, a natural continuation of the ideas and suggestions in 
her previous performances-"Love and Pangs from Macedo- 
nia", „Lovely Youth" and "Bulgarian Wedding"; but on a new 
much more professional level. 

With her first performances she succeeded in winning 
the love and recognition of several Bulgarian generations. 
Once one has entered the concert hall, they forget about 
their problems and indulge in the beauty of Nikolina Cha- 
kardakova's voice. She leads them into another world-the 
world of Bulgarian folklore. One can see its beauty, can feel 
this beauty and appraise it. You can see a happy glitter in 
their eyes, you can see hope and a beam of light that shines 
in the darkness. One feels proud because they are not or- 
dinary people any more. They have something that others 
do not have-the strength that makes them love and respect 
their Motherland. At the time we are living now this is very 
difficult, but through folklore, presented in such a beautiful 
way, Nikoina Chakardakova makes it easy. 

The performance "The Magic of Bulgarian Folklore" 
makes you dream and at the some time find the reality in it. 
It is a beautiful combination, actually an embodiment of the 
human's soul in a song, -an everlasting song, flowing like a 
spring stream, a stream which you can drink from and you 
can take more and more of it. The melody flies somewhere in 
the immensity, the lyrics stir your feelings, something in you 

E-bmapuH e poduHama Ha OpcpeCi. 

Heeoeume HacnedHuu,u eacmponupam no noduyMume Ha nemme KOHmuHeHma 
ype3 en. "Typu3i>M u omdux" Bue Mowe da ochuu,ecmeume KOHmaKmu c Hau-do6pume 
(ponnnopHu 6^neapcKu neeu,u u My3UKaHmu. 

flon-bfiHUTenHa MHcfcopMaLjMfl Ha a,qpec: 

BULGARIA; 1000 Sofia; 3, Stara planina Str. 

tel: +359 2/ 981 82 24; +359 2/ 980 66 98; fax:+359 2/ 98067 10; 




" ._. 


" ■> . 

The bagpipe is 
my bridge to other 
worlds and extreme- 
ly interesting foreign 
cultures, says Chur- 
tova. Naturally, this 
makes me emotion- 
ally and spiritually 

Over tahe years, 
the Rhodope bag- 
pipe in her hands 
sounded all over the 
world. The woman 
piper is known in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Belgium, 
France, Italy, Czech, Poland and Germany. Her jour- 
neys enrich her experience, but on the other hand 
they take from time for her family. 

The last recording is Krasimira Churtova's favou- 
rite song "Zaspalo e chelebiiche" (The little master 
has fallen asleep). 

At the end they were all trying to convince me 
that not only I could play the bagpipe, but also sing a 
little. I know I am bagpiper but I never stopped sing- 
ing either. 

S3 S3 

'SURMA **■»■■• 

support of the 
\municipality of Zlatograd, within 
the range of the programs fJZH^ 
\and SWPWR3). 

9~he compter includes: 
historical ethnographic museum 
exposition, 6 traditional workshops, 
^ fulling mill and water-mill, hose 
for guests and bedroom suite. 

a— mmihLMi 

—■.*■»■- fl 


The com/ilex Is unique usith his neus afiftroach in representing u/orkshofis and u/ith his 
fiosition in the middle of inhabitable culture and architecture monuments. 

Bulgaria, 4980 Zlatograd, tel.: +359 3071/44 74, 21 36, fax: +359 3071/25 19 

www. eac-zlatograd. com 






flBPWW* w 







I HHj " 

■fVW^W ^SWfiv ■ . 



The Nature Park Rila Monastery was established dur- 
ing May of the year 2000. Its territory is composed of 
27,370.7 hectares of forest, meadow and alpine peaks. 
13,000 hectares are alpine meadow. The park was es- 

rila national park 

tablished in order to protect the ecologically valuable 
plant and animal communities existing here, as well as 
to preserve the remarkable diversity and beauty of the 
landscape. Each of these natural resources is developed 
for tourism. 

Owing to the intense effects of high alpine weather- 
ing and the Rila massifs considerable gravitational force, 
here one may find typical alpine features such as scree 
and talus slopes. Especially impressive from a geomor- 
phologic point of view is the area around the Kipilova 
Meadow, including a fascinating stone rainbow and sev- 
eral high alpine peaks - The Evil Tooth (Zleeya Zub), Igla- 
ta, Koopenite, Lovneetsa, Orlovets, and Eleni Vruhk. The 
entire slope rising from the Rila River is deeply serrated 
with many gullies and couloirs, through which rage flash- 
floods, avalanches and rock slides. The more famous of 
these gullies are Beliya Oolook, Dulgiya Oolook, and Var- 
nika, known collectively as The Evil Streams. Due to the 
action of glaciers during the Quaternary geologic period, 
there now is a considerable number of glacial lakes at the 
higher elevations of this region. Within the park's bound- 
aries there are 28 such lakes. The highest of these is the 
first of the so called Devil's Lakes, at an elevation of 2,445 
meters, and the lowest of these is the Dry Lake, elevation 
1 ,892 meters. Additionally, the largest alpine lake on the 
Balkan Peninsula is found in the park - The Smradleevo 
Lake, with a surface area of 212 decares and a maximum 
depth of 24 meters. 

The Nature Park Rila Monastery is surrounded by 36 



madarski konnik 

alpine peaks reaching 2,000 meters or bet- 
ter. The highest of these are: Golyam Koo- 
pen (2,731 meters); Cherna Polyana (2,716 
meters); Rilets (2,713 meters); and Popova 
Kapa (2,704 meters). 

Several rivers and streams flow through- 
out the territory of the park. Among them are 
the following: The Rila, The llleena and The 

1 ,400 species of higher plant occur within 
the park's boundaries, 71 of which are in- 
cluded in Bulgaria's Red Book of Rare, 
Threatened and Endangered Species. Of 
these 71 species, 19 are endemics, and 5 of 
these are local endemics which occur only 
within the park. The following species occur 
within the park and are included in the Euro- 
pean List of Rare, Threatened and Endemic 
plant species under different conservation 
statuses: Rilski Reven, Bodjectvena Igleeka, 
Ynkieven Lopen, Planinsko Podroomiche, and Rilsko Podroomiche. 

The particular aspect (direction of exposure) of The Rila Valley allows for unique combinations and distributions of 
woody species. The following occur within the park: oak, beech, fir, spruce, yew, white fir, black pine, lime, sycamore, 
ashe, birch, dwarf pine and juniper. 

Over 150 species of vertebrate animal species occur within the park's boundaries, 14 of which are included in 
Bulgaria's Red Book. Observant and patient visitors may catch sight of the following species: Alpine Newt, Tree Frog, 
Mouse Snake, Marten, and The Imperial Eagle. 

During 1986 The Rila Monastery Forest was established on 3,676.5 hectares of forested land around The Rila 
Monastery. This monastery was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO during 1983. 


The monument dates back to the early Middle Ages. The relief was cut out on an almost vertical rock massif as 
high as 23 m; it shows a horseman in almost real size, a running dog, a lion, and there are some inscriptions. This is 
a generalized picture of Bulgarian rulers. 

Tourism Information Centre 

Tsarevgrad Turnov EOOD 



■ ha 

new program for the tourist season starting in March: 

♦ Visits to the remains of Roman town Nikopolis ad Istrum. 

♦ Return to Roots - - open-air spectacle. The audience will 
have the opportunity to watch a performance reproducing 
the coronation of King Kaloyan, as well as the farewell of 
the Patriarch Evtimius to the citizens of Turnovo and his 
blessings for Bulgaria. 

■ ^M 

Sound and Light. 

Folk festivities and customs are reproduces 

in the Square of Samovodska Charshiya. 

♦ Visits to Arbanassi village: the churches of 

Holy Nativity and of the Sts Archangels 

Michael and Gabriel, the monasteries of St 

Nicholas and the Holy Virgin, the museum 

Konstantsalieva House. 

.... ... 

Tsarevgrad Turnov EOOD 

Bulgaria, Velico Tarnovo 

5, Christo Botev Street 


A ' $(±359 62) 622148 

a) 600768 









text: Pavlina llieva - Head of Arc 






at IAR/1 BAS 





Alongside of the road leading to the Shipka Pass in the 
Balkan Mountains, close to the ancient sanctuary of Svetit- 
sa, is the mound of the same name where a stone tomb of 
the sarcophagus type with incredible Thracian materials in it 
has been discovered. Its discoverer, Dr Georgi Kitov, says 
the materials date back to the middle of the 5th century BC. 
The mound is near the capital of Tsar Seuth III - Seuthopo- 
lis, where the famous Kazanluk Tomb, the Ostrusha, Shush- 
manets, Gryphons and a few more temples can be seen. 
Unique building techniques showing the Thracian masters' 
creative genius had been applied in their construction. The 
ruler's tomb is made from irreproachably cut granite blocks; 
there is a stone-flagged pavement covered with slabs. The 
valuable things found in the tomb are not intact, which has 

given grounds to the author to maintain that the Orphic ritual 
of burying the dead had been observed. The singer Orpheus 
had been torn by the bacchantes. In a similar way the other 
remains in the tomb - parts of bones and a lower jaw only, 
give reasons to think that the dead man buried here had been 
Orpheus' follower. A part of the objects available in the tomb 
are of extreme scientific, artistic and exhibition value. One 
of these is a unique, incred- 
ible death mask of gold in 
the shape of a human face. It 

weighs 680 g and is of pure 24-carat gold. So far we have 
known about a few gold masks from Mycenae, Trebenishte 
at the Ohrid Lake and Sindos near Thessalonica. They all 
are made of a very thin foil and their weight is incomparable 
with that of the findings in the Svetitsata Thracian tomb. The 
facial features are strictly individualised. The image is of a 
stern, despotic and authoritative man. The eyes are closed; 
locks fall round the broad face, the moustaches and beard 
are shown \n detail. The eyes are closed. The mask inspires 
respect. The powerful Thracian ruler is in front of us. 

The gold mask was found at the place of the head, up- 
side down and pressed down under a big stone slab. For this 
reason it is deformed at one ear. The technique of fixing the 
ears with eight rivets either is very interesting. They had been 
made separately from the mask. This method is known also 
from the masks of Trebenishte (6th century BC). The noses of 
these masks are fixed with rivets in the same way. 

The stamp-ring of pure 24-carat gold weighing 21 grams 
is not less impressive at all. It is a sample of Hellenistic Art. 
It might have been given as a present to that rich Thracian 
ruler. The ring is totally preserved and nearly unused. 

The Thracian weapons found in the mound are a proof of 
the buried Thracian ruler's power and might. The iron spears 
are four; the sword is big and heavy; the bronze armour is of 
two parts. It has openings at the sleeves at the neck where 
the connecting elements made from thousands of iron rings 
linked together had been mounted. A bronze hydria was sup- 
posed to accompany the ruler in his after life. Two huge ce- 

ramie amphorae might have been full of wine. Two attic ewers 
decorated with red figures add to the accessories in the tomb, 
together with a great number of silver handles of phiales and 
a preserved silver phiale with two handles fixed additionally. 

The stone tomb in the Svetitsata mound was unearthed 
on 19th August 2004. 

A month and a half later Dr Georgi Kitov's team discov- 
ered a real masterpiece of ancient bronze plastic arts - a 
bronze head a little bigger than the normal human size, in 
the Golyamata Kosmatka Tomb, not far from the Svetitsata 
Tomb. The bronze head is certainly not an image of a deity, 
but a portrait of a man who had lived in reality. 

This head can freely be compared with the portrait images 
on bronze coins of the Thracian ruler Seuth III (330-300 BC) 
whose residence had been the Thracian town of Seuthopolis. 
Probably the head had been a part of a bigger statue, and 
why not of a horse statue presenting the ruler Seuth III, de- 
picted with a typical aquiline nose, locks in the greatest detail, 
turned up moustaches and a long beard. It could be assumed 
that during their invasion in Thrace (279 - 277) BC) the Celts 
destroyed the statue that might have depicted Seut III as an 
equestrian and might have been in the Tsar's palace in Seu- 
thopolis. It might be that a Thracian equestrian had managed 
to save only the head (weighing 12 kg), which might have 
been buried with rituality in the Golyamata Kosmatka mound, 
with strict observance of that Thracians' Orphic ritual. 

This incredible masterpiece could have belonged to a 
great Greek master, and why not to the famous Greek sculp- 
tor from the second half and the end of the 4th century BC. At 
that time Pella had been working for the court, too, and por- 
trait images and statues of all the members of the tsar's fam- 
ily of Macedon had been made. Lisipus worked personally for 
Alexander of Macedon. From ancient authors it is known that 
Lisipus had created over 1500 bronze statues, of which not 
even a single original has survived until now, except for a few 
Roman replicas. 

It could be assumed that it is one of the last pieces of art 
of the great Greek sculptor Lisipus, made at the very end of 
the 4th century BC (about 300 BC). This date is related also 
to the last days of Seuth III. 

This magnificent work of fine art is undoubtedly a piece 
from the transition period between the late classical art and 
early Hellenism. This is a masterpiece of world standing, cre- 
ated by a great Greek sculptor who had lived and created at 
the end of 4th century BC. 

Bulgaria and in particular the Archaeological Museum at 
the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences owns the best part of the 
only Lisipus' bronze statue that has survived in the original 
- the portrait head of the Thracian ruler Seuth III. 

pavlina ilieva (left), the president of Bulgaria (middle); 

director of the IAM - BAS (right) 

bronze head 

We have 
been equally 
excited by 

the latest dis- 
coveries of 
Prof. Nikolai 
team related 
to Perperikon 
and Tatul 

in the East- 
ern Rhodope 
Mountains. In 
the course of 
the hypoth- 
esis is being 
confirmed that 
the discovery 
of the temple- 
sanctuary of 
will help solve 
the mystery 

related to discovering Troy and Mycenae. It might be that 
one of the wonders of the ancient world - the sanctuary of 
Dionysus, was exactly in Perperikon. As is well known from 
the 'Father of History', Herodotus, who described the march 
of the Persian king Xerxes against the Hellenes in 480 BC, 
and then continued his story of how that fearful army passed 
along the Aegean seacoast, not far from the southern slopes 
of the Rhodopes. 

The archaeological excavations of Perperikon went on 
confirming the continuity in cult practices - from the earliest 
antiquity to the 12th - 13th centuries. 

Some of the latest achievements of the archaeological 
excavations are also the architectural facilities cut in the rock 
exactly in those times. More and more new temples, buildings 
and streets emerged, as well as a new Christian complex. 

The proofs sought in support of the existence of the fa- 
mous Dionysus sanctuary at this place are already available. 
This summer Prof. Nikolai Ovcharov's team unearthed a ce- 
ramic fragment with strange frescoes, but why not an ancient 
inscription? We are awaiting the discoverers' interpretation. 

A Bulgarian-Greek symposium dedicated to the results of 
the investigations in the Eastern Rhodopes and Perperikon 
was held in Kurdjali in the beginning of October. Bulgarian 
and foreign scientists delivered a lot of reports, amplifying our 
idea of the development of archaeology in this region. This 
was also a forum where it became possible for our two happy 
discoverers, Dr Georgi Kitov and Prof. Ovcharov, to present 
and illustrate their latest discoveries during this really magic 
summer for the Bulgarian archaeology and for Bulgaria. 

Immediately after the discoveries had been made and the 
materials brought from the Svetitsata mound near the town of 
Kazanluk to the academic museum of Bulgaria - the Archaeo- 
logical Museum, the citizens and the guests of the capital left 
the dynamic stereotype of today's life and buried themselves in 
a world created by human geniuses, not only looking at the gold 
mask and the gold ring, but also at the whole amount of valu- 
able objects form the tomb, which are more than 2400 years 
old. A little later the other big discovery came - the bronze 
head from the Golyamata Kosmatka mound near the town of 
Shipka. On 12th October the Bulgarian public was lucky to see 
for the first time this masterpiece of bronze plastic arts from the 
end of the 4th century BC in the central hall of the Bulgarian 
Academy of Sciences (BAS) on the occasion of its 135th an- 
niversary. We are happy that the Institute of Archaeology and 
Museum is a part of it. In 2005 the Museum will celebrate the 
centennial anniversary of opening its first exposition. 

T&R 11 

The three-day tour focuses on important architectural, 
artistic and historical monuments of culture from the 7th 
century BC until present day. The main tour offers the op- 
portunity to make alternative thematic itineraries of educa- 
tional, religious and scientific nature. 

The starting point is the town of Kyustendil. The first day the 
tourists visit the sites, which are part of the National architectural and 
archaeological reserve Pautalia, Velbuzhd, Kyustendil. The ancient 
history of the town and the region is displayed in the Archaeological 
exhibition. The abundance of objects (from 7th century BC - 14th 
century AD) attracts the tourists' attention and provokes their inter- 
est in the next stages of the tour. To get an idea of what Pautalia 

Asclepion was like, the tourists should visit the ancient therms from 
2nd - 3rd centuries, which cover a territory of 3000 sq. m and are 
one of the symbols of present-day Kyustendil. The existence of cura- 
tive mineral water springs is the reason why Kyustendil has existed 
as a town for two thousand years in a row, has been an adminis- 
trative, economic and spiritual centre and has been famous as a 
resort for emperors and military leaders. Just off the therms lies the 
Pirkova Tower (14th - 1 5th centuries), which was a fortification tower 
in the medieval town of Velbuzhd. Another landmark in the town is 
the fortress situated on the Hisarlaka Hill. Here among the ruins and 
magnificent nature, the tourists will be absorbed in the atmosphere 
of past events. This place is provided with well-maintained alleys and 
spots where one can sit down and relax or eat. 












:»Ani nvn-qi SKRINYANO p»-6--' 






d. grahstitsa 7 
piperkov girchevtsi / lilyac 


. , 




62 NOVK 

3RAMAJDANO £ „_-i, ., y 













vukovo i V|S0KA 















^ ~^%sopovo / s 






* -„ 


* Monastery, Church, Chapel 
_ Fortress 
■ Museum 

Tourist info-center 

Mineral spring 
a Ancient settlement 
- Cave 


Tourist tour 

Main road 

Secondary road 


International and Republican 
road identification 


,.■;■--.;./.-;: .; ■ -'■ 

ieorge Church from the 12th century, 
which is situate^ e Kolusha residential district, is Dy rar 

the pearl of the iieval architectural and art heritage. If 


vladimir dimitrov - maistora 


The St. George Church from the 12th century, which is situ- 
ated in the Kolusha residential district, is by far the pearl of the 
medieval architectural and art heritage. If the tourist group is 
interested in the history of the Christian religion and art, they 
can visit the Dormition of the Mother of God, St. Demetrius and 
St. Mina temples dating back to the Bulgarian National Revival 
period. For those interested in ancient history, an observation of 
archaeological excavations in Kyustendil can be organised. 

The tour focuses on sites connected with the more contem- 
porary history of the town and its present day rhythm. Anyone will 
be delighted to see the works of the great artist Vladimir Dimitrov, 
the Master, which are displayed in the art gallery Vladimir Dimi- 
trov - The Master together with the works of other artists from 
Kyustendil. Just off the art gallery is the home place of the great 
humanist Dimitar Peshev. His house contains an exhibition dis- 
playing his contribution to saving the Bulgarian Jews in 1943 - a 
human act, which impressed the whole democratic world. For 
relaxation, we offer a walk along the pedestrian alley in the town 
where one can enjoy the centuries-old chestnut and lime trees, 
the houses designed in the style and architecture typical for the 
end of the 1 9th century and the beginning of the 20th century. We 
also offer a visit to the Emfiedzhieva House, which has an exhibi- 
tion displaying the way of life of well-to-do Kyustendil citizen from 
the same period. At the end of the day, having gathered impres- 
sions, the tourists can have dinner in one of the many restaurants 
in the town. As for accommodation, the town offers hotels in ex- 
cellent condition. 

The second day of the tour continues with visiting the llyo 
Voivoda Museum-House. This place exhibits objects illustrating 
the fights Bulgarians from the Kyustendil region for national lib- 
eration and unification. 

Leaving Kyustendil, 
the tourist group will 
head for the village of 
Nevestino situated 13 
km away from the town, 
lying in the picturesque 
valley of the river Stru- 
ma. Here the mediaeval 


Kadin Bridge towers over the river, wrapped in the mystery of 
beautiful legends and sayings about people and events. 

Leaving Nevestino and passing the town of Dupnitsa, the 
tourists will head for the town of Sapareva Banya. Here one 
finds a geyser (103°C), which produces an 18-metre-high hot 
water stream every 6 seconds. The main focus of the tour in 
Sapareva Banya is the St. Nicholas mediaeval church from the 
12th century. Those who are interested in ancient times will visit 
the ruins of the ancient town of Germanea, while the ones inter- 
ested in Christian art can visit the churches and chapels in the 
town and its vicinities, which date back to the Bulgarian Revival 
Period. Both the town and the resort Panichishte, lying 10 km 
away from it offer excellent conditions for eating and accom- 

The tour continues with the town of Rila, where the tourists 
can visit the Babinska Mahala (Grandmother's neighbourhood) 
complex from the Revival period, the mediaeval church St. Arch- 
angel Michael with its unique frescoes. 2 km away from the town, 
on the way to the Rila Monastery, is the convent Orlitsa (female 
eagle) with the St. Peter and Paul church. Going along the pictur- 
esque valley of the river Rilska, deeper and deeper into the heart 
of the 'Great Rila desert' those fascinated by the surrounding 
beauty can see the towering walls of the Great Rila Monastery. 
Here the impressions build up one after the other - the unique 
architecture, the church with its wood-carving and frescoes of 
high artistic value, the unique Magernitsa (kitchen), the medi- 
aeval Hrelyo's Tower, the superb interior design of the guest- 

hostels, the rich museum exhibition, etc. And all this, being in 
organic unity with nature, inspires awe to the man-made things, 
as well as awe to God. 

After visiting the Rila Monastery the tour changes direction 
back to the town of Rila and after passing through it heads for 
Boboshevo. In the vicinity of the town lies the St. Dimitar Church 
- a magnificent monument of the mediaeval architecture and 
paintings from the 15th century. On the way back to Kyustendil 
the tour passes by the enchanting Skrino gorge and again re- 
turns to the Kyustendil valley. Those who are interested might 
visit the medieval churches St. Petka in the village of Vukovo 
and St. John in the village of Pastuh. 

Pleasantly tired by the impressions and emotions, the tour- 
ists will again sink into the calm atmosphere of ancient and 
modern Kyustendil. 

For contacts: 

Regional Museum of History "Acad. 

Yordan Ivanov", town of Kyustendil 

2500 Kyustendil 

55 Bulgaria Blvd 

tel.: 078/50095; 078/50098; 

fax: 078/50095 




The Bulgarian higher flora is characterised by an extremely 
large number of species. The higher plants are divided in 130 
families and 872 genera with 3550 species, 847 varieties and 
2000 sorts. 

The mountains are rich in endemic species, some of them 
growing only in these lands - Balkan-Range primrose, Rhodope 
rose, Thracian oak-tree, lily, Rila rhubarb and many others. The 
vegetation cover is represented by forests occupying about one 
third of the territory of the country, shrubs and grass. The broad- 
leaved deciduous forests are predominant. They cover the val- 
leys and the hilly areas of the country (different oak varieties 
and European beech), and the lower and medium part of the 
mountains with an altitude of 1,400 - 1 ,800 m (common Gorun, 
hornbeam, Mysian beech). A corniferous forest belt has devel- 
oped in the high parts of the mountains, represented by Scots 
(Wild) Pine, European Spruce, European Silver Fir and Boris 
Fir. Special colour is imparted by the Balkan endemics white 
and black fir. 

Characteristic of the country are the riverside forests of Com- 
mon (Field) Elm and taller ash. 

The animal world in Bulgaria is of a various origin. Middle 
(central) European species are found in North Bulgaria and in 
the Balkan Range, steppe species - mainly in East Bulgaria, Arc- 
tic-Alpine species - in the high parts of the mountains, Mediterra- 
nean - in the southern part of the country. 29 000 animal species 
have been identified. 

The invertebrate fauna is rich in species. The large number 
of endemic species in the Western Rhodopes, Pirin, Rila, the 
Central and Western Balkan Range makes these regions places 
of special scientific interest. 

The vertebrate fauna is represented by 207 species and va- 
rieties of fish and round-mouthed, 52 amphibia and reptiles, 397 
bird and 40 mammal species. 

The animals to be seen in the forests are red deer, roe, wild 
boar. Mountain fauna is characterised by European polecat, 

badger, wolf, fox, small rodents. The bird fauna is rich - there are 
252 species of nesting birds. The two migration routes of birds 
pass through the Bulgarian lands: Via Pontica and Via Mediter- 
ranea - along the Strouma Valley. Out of the 29 bird species 
identified in Europe, threatenend on a world scale, 16 species 
nest in Bulgaria: Dalmatian pelican, white-tailed sea eagle, black 
vulture, royal eagle, redthroat goose and others. 


The presence of VIER PFOTEN in Bulgaria is not a 
chance. Our country has unique nature, which favours the 
existence of many species in their natural environment. At 
present our territory is inhabited by 860 wild bears. 

However, in the beginning of the 21st century, the 
precedent of "dancing" bear still exists in our country. 

The "dancing" bear that has been living in an extrinsi- 
cal environment cannot revert to its normal, wild life. 

The goal of VIER PFOTEN is to stop mistreatment of 
"dancing" bears in Bulgaria and to provide quiet and ap- 
propriate existence close to that of their wild relatives. 

DANCING BEARS PARK project is the logic solution 
of this problem. It started in 2000 with a pilot phase. 

DANCING BEARS PARK is situated in South Rila, at 

t 345 m above sea level, 1 1 km away from the Town of 
Belitsa and 180 km from the capital of Bulgaria - Sofia. 
It covers 120 000 m2. It is constructed in accordance 
with the requirements of the latest scientific standards 
and in cooperation with world acknowledged experts. 
DANCING BEARS PARK offers to its inhabitants dense 
forests and hills for walk and seclusion and meadows. 
By this way we can provide to bears environment and 
safe place that is closest to their natural habitat. Here 
for first time they can feel and demonstrate their instincts 
of wild animal and inborn behaviour that have been sup- 
pressed during their slavery. The park is the appropriate 
solution of the "dancing bear" problem and is a guideline for 
new projects in the field of animal protection. 

DANCING BEARS PARK consists of two parts, con- 
nected with 30 meters long safe bridge for the bears. 
The two parts of the park are divided into 7 sectors, 
connected with 1 1 passages. The length of the fence 
enclosing the sectors is 3 326 m. It is installed on 1 150 
pylons and is 3,20 m high. In order to provide the safety 
of the bears as well as of the visitors, a 26 608 m long 
electric shepherd is installed. 

Brown bear can reach 2 m in length. Their weight 
is between 135 and 390 kg, and is running very fast 
- 40-50 km/h. Brown bears have very developed sense 
of smell. Brown bears hibernate in winter. Their sleep is 
not deep. Bears can be easily awakened and when dis- 
turbed they leave their den. Before going to sleep bears 
eat much in order to gather enough nutritive substances. 
They eat green parts of plants, lush grass, fruits, nuts, 
insects, etc. In January during the hibernation the female 
gives life to 1 or 2 blind bear cubs. They weigh between 
220 and 680 grams. In the beginning they grow very 
slowly. The mother suckles them 5 months but the cubs 
stay with her till their second year. Bears give birth once 
in a period of 2,5 years. Bears live approximately 30 
years. In Bulgaria bears can be found in the Rila, Pirin, 
Rhodopes, Middle Balkan and Vitosha Mountains. 



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We lose much time in tries of tourist 
destination, because maybe we 
do not know that at 60 km from 
Sofia, near Botevgrad the Skravena village 
is situated. Recently in the vicinity of the 
village has been opened the base for 
horses Zdravets. The base offers several 
opportunities: riding-school, open air rid- 
ing and short marches. 
Everyone wishing to prove the pleasure of 
riding can do it and can be sure to find 

the right teacher who is able to change 
the first timorous attempt in unforgettable 
experience. To the combination of recre- 
ation, sport and amusement you can add 
the defiance to ride across the tracks of 
the past and to become part of ancient 
ages thanks to the tale of your guide. The 
region represents an original mosaic of the 
past - from the antiquity till the present- 
day. Everyone can sea the remains of 
Thracian antiquity, to visit the castle walls 
or to became part of the atmosphere of 
the numerous monasteries, the natureXs 
force - the biofield which helps you to 
forget the trivial round. Zdravets horse 
base is an excellent place for recreation 
and amusement for adults and children, 
for Bulgarians and foreign tourists, an 
unforgettable touch with the unknown 
and interesting story of the people of 
Bulgaria and the region of Skravena. 








Region of Botevgrad 

Tel: +359 2 8701150; 

+ 359 889 711570 


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The St. George Monastery of Glozhene is located on 
the eastern slope of the Lisets hill in the Western Fore- 
Balkan, below the Kamen Lisets peak, and 3 km south- 
west of the village of Glozhene. 

Prince Georgi Glozh from Kiev founded it in the 13th 
century (1224). He had been chased by the Tatars after 
his flight from South Russia and was shown hospitality by 
the brothers Assen. In acknowledgement of their gesture, 
the prince built the monastery above the place where he 
had settled. 

The monastery consists of a church surrounded 
by residential buildings, which form a closed space 
like an inner courtyard. Sheer cliffs descend from 
three sides and give the monastery the appearance 
of an unapproachable castle. The buildings were con- 
structed in 1858 and were later reconstructed. The 
present-day temple was built in 1931 in the place of 
the old church that had collapsed in an earthquake. 
Prince Glozh brought the famous, wonder-working 
icon of St. George (13th century) to the monastery 
from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Now the original icon 
is kept in the bishopric of Lovech and the church has 
a replica of it. The monastery is also proud of having 
a Kiev-Pechersk Gospel of 1745, as well as some old 
printed books. 

In the 18th century the monastery was one of the 
biggest cultural centres in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian 
metropolitan Kliment was sent on exile to the monas- 
tery for political reasons. There the merited spiritual, 
cultural and political figure was kept in very hard con- 
ditions for nine months in 1 893-94. The Monastery of 
Glozhen has been declared a monument of culture. 

Near the monastery is the Morovitsa cave. With its 
3025 m of underground cave galleries it is one of the 


longest caves in Bulgaria. The well-blazed trail passes 
near the monastery fountain - a well laid out place to sit 
and rest, and through the Manevitsa meadow, which is at 
the foot of the Lisets peak. A wonderful panoramic view 
opens out - from the monastery, down the Vit River valley 
and the village of Glozhene, the Vasilyovska Mountain, to 
the rock massifs above the town of Teteven and the Ve- 
zhen and Kozyata Stena peaks in the Balkan Range. 

DiMario Hotel 



2730 Simitly 

23 Hristo Botev Str. 

Tel.: +359 748/ 7 10 22, 7 12 85 


Virgin nature 

• Thermal spring, unique churches, houses, rivers, mountains, rocks; 

• Authentic cuisine, traditions, tests, songs and dances; 

• Balneology, hunting and fishing tourism, eco-tourism, culture tourism, congress 

24 double rooms (with air condition, TV, Internet), restaurant, fitness centre, cosmetic 
saloon, conference room, beauty parlor, conference hall. 


From 8 to 13 of August 2005 Bansko will be a centre of 

Exposition and tourist market- contracting " Mountain, 
eco, balneological, and balneo-energy tourism". Bansko 
is the most dynamic developing Bulgarian mountain resort 
and winter and ski tourism leader having own past, rich 
culture and historical heritage, original museums, folklore, 
and crafts. Bansko is situated in South-Western Bulgaria, 
surrounded by the mountain chains of Pirin, Rila and 
Rhodopes and thermal sources. In the mountainsides 
are situated the best ski centre in Bulgaria. Organizers : 
Municipality of Bansko, Daker Ltd and Tourism and Recre- 
ation magazine 

For more information and participation : 


1000 Sofia 

3 Stara planina Str. 

tel: +359 2/ 981 82 24; +359 2/ 980 66 98; fax:+359 2/ 98067 10 




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Three-star, operates all the year 
round. The hotel has a lounge with a 

reception and a lobby bar. 

The building is three-storied, with a 

lift and local heating. 

A seminar hall seated for 100 

An outdoor and an 

indoor swimming pool 


Restaurant VOLGA 
Offers national and attrac- 
tive cuisine and bouquet of 
select wines. 
Bulgaria, Stara Zagora 
155 Tsar Simeon Veliki 


Tel.: +359 42/ 864 062 

Tel./fax:+359 42/863197 


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A three-star hotel in the heart of 
the town of Kazanluk. 
Modern equipment and facilities offering 
luxury, comfort and high-quality services 
for tourist groups, business tourists and 
VIP guests. 
A classical-type restaurant. 
European and national cuisine, an open- 
air restaurant for the summer and barbe- 
cue. Make your business successful with 

our help. 



Bulgaria, 6100 Kazanluk, 

Zornica Hotel complex 

i!.: +359 431/ 639 39, 649 20 Fax: 0431/ 63 652 









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Bulgaria, 6 100 Kazanluk 

9 P. Stainov Str. 

Tel.: +359 431/ 6 23 11 

Fax: +359 431/ 6 21 61 



Pirin mountain rises between the deep valleys of the 
Strouma and Mesta rivers, and its peaks, as it strung one next 
to the other, rise each sharper and more fearful than the other. 
The mountain is about 80 km long and up to 40 km wide. The 
most beautiful and of definitely Alpine character is the relief of 
the northern part of Pirin. Forty peaks rise at a height of more 
than 2,600 m. The highest peak, Vihren, is 2,916 m. The cli- 
mate of Pirin results from the high altitude above sea level and 
the dominating air masses coming from south-west and west. 
The average annual temperature at Vihren peak is 3,7° C, and 
the amount of rainfall and snow is 1,571 milimeters. 


With its highest elevation above sea level at Moussala peak, 
namely 2,925 m, Rila is the highest mountain on the Balkan 

Peninsula. Its average height above sea level is 1,487 m, and its 
total area is 2,629 sq. m. The nowadays relief of the mountain 
is the result of glacier exaration activity. During the Pliocene 
the mountain was covered with glacier several times. The lower 
boundary of everlasting snow was about 2,000 m above sea 
level. As a result the today's glacier exaration shapes have been 
obtained, namely troughs, cirques, collars. There is well devel- 
oped tourist and balneological infrastructure in Rila - hot mineral 
springs, mountain resorts, sports contest centers, mountain 
huts, marked tourist routes, radio-link and mountain rescue 
brigades, as well as historical and religious sighseeing sites. 


The Balkan Range fea ulgaria in terms of morphology and 
structure. From the Timok river valley up to Emine horn on the 
Black Sea coast the length of the mountain range is 555 km. Its 
width in the eastern part is up to 50 km and it occupies about 
10 % of the territory of Bulgaria. The highest elevation is Botev 
peak, 2,376 m above sea level. The average altitude above sea 
level is 795 m. The relief of the mountain from west to east is 
structured by chains and folds which have been further shaped 
by the external earth forces. There are predominantly beech 
and oak tree forests. The tourism infrastructure in the Balkan 
Range is very well developed. However, it is closely related to 
that of the Fore-Balkans. There are more than 100 tourist huts, 
homes and shelters in this mountain system. 


The Rhodopes are a huge mountain massif in the Balkan 
Peninsula. The mountain, buried in age-old forests and green- 
ery, is cut up by a complex, labyrinth-like system of valleys. 
The length of this huge mountain range is 240 km from west 

to east and 1 00 km from north to south. The 
highest peak is Golyam Perelik, 2,191 m and 
the average altitude above sea level is 785 m. 
Climate is formed under the climatic influence 
of the Mediterranean Sea. The average annual 
temperature in Western Rhodopes is 5-90 C and 
in Eastern Rhodopes it is considerably higher. 
Winter is open and snowy. The thick snow cover 
lies over the western parts of the mountain for 
about five months. 

The Rhodopes have been inhabited since the 
dawn of European civilization and are famous for 
their legends and myths, cultural and folk tradi- 
tions. Homer called this vast land The snowy 
mountains of the Thracians". The Rhodopes are 
associated with the ancient legend about the 
mythical Thracian singer Orpheus who, grief- 
stricken after the death of his wife, Eurydice, 
withdrew into the forests of Thrace (the age-old 
woods of the Rhodopes). 

Unique architectural monuments can be 
found here, the most significant of them being the 
traditional houses which are in harmony with the 
mountain scenery. The picturesque mountain is a 
natural habitat of some rare animal and bird spe- 
cies and the mild climate determines the exclusive 
richness of endemic plant species. 

Two caves in the Rhodopes have lighting 
inside: Dyavolsko Gurlo (devil's throat) and the 
Cave of Yagodino. Tourism is developed well here 
and the mountain hotels and huts have hospitably 
opened the doors for visitors. Of interest to the 
guests of the Rhodopes are: the incredibly pic- 
turesque town of Smolyan built in terraces, which 
is the longest town in Bulgaria, the established 
holiday town of Chepelare, the architectural, folk 
and ethnographic reserve of Shiroka Luka, the 
wonderful resort Pamporovo and many other tour- 
ist sites. 

The beauty and wildlife of the mountain have 
been prised in numbers of folk songs 


Smolyan, born by human love and a 
generous mother nature, jealously keeps 
the best examples of local architecture. 
Straddling the river Cherna, it is sur- 
rounded by centenarian forests and lofty 
cliffs reflecting in the clear waters of the 
Smolyan lakes. 

Smolyan has had an eventful his- 
tory. The area was populated during the 
second and first millennium B.C., and 
the town owes its name to the tribe of the 
Smolyany who came to this place in the 
7th century. 

In early 20th century, there were three 
neighbourhoods at the site of today's 
Smolyan: Ustovo, Raikovo and Smolyan. 
The local houses are unique for Bulgaria. 

Today's Smolyan is a modern eco- 
nomic, cultural and tourist centre. 

The favourable climate and mountain 
charm make the Smolyan area the perfect 
place for holiday and recreation during all 

• •• 

J\ hotel 




Plovdiv 4004 

1 2 Koukiensko Shousse Blv 

tel.: +359 32/61 08, 694 089 

fax: + 359 32/ 673 967 


Hotel Nevrokop 

900 Goce Delchev 

1 Mihail Antonov Str. 

tel.: +359 751/61 240;1,2,3 
fax: +359 751/61 244 








Bansko has been declared a unique town of Interna- 
tional importance to commercial tourism (1979). Apart 
from the beautiful Pirin and the numerous spots of natural 
beauty the town also boasts its many historic sites. Re- 
mains of ancient fortresses have been preserved in the 
Staroto Gradishte (Stankale) locality about 4 km south- 
west of the town and also in the Yulen locality (downstream 
Demyanitsa river). Thracian tumuli have been uncovered 
in the vicinity of Staroto Gradishte. Archaeological works 
have unearthed a 2nd century B.C. burial site containing 
a set of bronze surgical instruments, remains of medici- 
nal preparations etc. in the centuries-old Dobrokyovitsa 
locality (west of Bansko). Scientists assume that a me- 
dieval settlement used to exist in the Sveta Troitsa (Holy 
Trinity) locality (northeast of town). Southeast of Bansko 
are remains of the late-medieval single-nave churches "St 
George" and "St Elijah". 

Bansko is the birthplace of famous Bulgarian enlight- 
eners, poets, writers, painters, iconographers and revo- 
lutionaries: Mile Bizev, Y. Vaptsarov, Nikola Vaptsarov, 
M. Vezyov, Lazar German, B. Golev, hadji K. Dagaradin, 
Lazar Konchagov, M. Kolchagov, Toma Vishanov, Dimi- 
tar Molerov , Simeon Molerov, Neofit Rilski, Paisii Hilen- 
darski, Ivan Popstefanov, Mile Rahov, Terzi Nikola, Asen 

Todev, Blago Todev, Nikola Furnadjiev etc. Monuments 
commemorating Nikola Vaptsarov (1956, sculpture by 
lliya lliev) and Paisii Hilendarski (1976, sculpture by Stoi- 
choTodorov) have been erected in the town. 

Bansko is famous for its well-preserved traditions and 
culture, its original Revival-period architecture and its 
local culinary specialities (Banski shashlik, Banska ka- 
pama). Visitors to this mountain town have always left it 
captivated by the spirit of Banskalii (Bansko residents) 
wishing they could once again return to the heart of Pirin; 
to one with nature is something everyone craves for in 
their hurried everyday lives. 


Bansko is an important cultural centre for the region. 
According to historic records, the settlement was first es- 
tablished about 9th -10th century A.D. on the site where 
ancient Thracian settlements had existed. In the 18th 
century it was mentioned as a large and prosperous vil- 
lage of thriving crafts and trade reaching as far as the 
Aegean and Europe. 

Bansko is the centre of a historically important arts 
school. In the 18th and early 19th century talented paint- 
ers and woodcarvers created works of art in the houses 
and churches of Bansko, the Rila Monastery, the monas- 
teries on Mount Athos, Serbia and Macedonia. The most 
famous painters belonged to the Molerovi clan, starting 
from its founder Toma Vishanov. During the second half 
of the 19th century another group of painters lead by Usta 
(Master) Ognyan Ognev made the decorative elements 
in the "Sveta Troitsa" church, Velyanova Kashta etc. Also 
famed were other craftsmen and painters such as Angel 
Velyanov, Mihalko Golev, Dimitar Sirleshtov , Ivan Ter- 
ziev, Nikola Benin. Bansko gained renown for its wood- 
carving and local masters. 

A monastery school was opened in Bansko in 1817 or 
1838 and in 1848 a "mutual school" was founded. Ban- 
sko is the birthplace of nationally admired enlighteners, 
revolutionaries and poets such as Paisii Hilendarski - the 
author of "Istoriya Slavenobolgarskaya" (History of Sla- 
vo-Bulgars)(1762), Neofit Rilski - the founder of secular 
education and the first Bulgarian encyclopaedist, Nikola 
Vaptsarov - a remarkable Bulgarian poet of international 

Original fortified and artistically decorated houses 
have been preserved from the 18th and 19th century, built 
almost entirely of stone, with small barred windows, tall 
walls, heavy metal-plated gates and interconnected by 
narrow and winding cobble-stone streets. Remarkable as 
architectural monuments and examples of fine art are the 
Velyanova, Benina, Sirleshtova, Todeva, Molerova, Dra- 
gostinova, Sharkova houses. The Sveta Troitsa church, 
the bell tower with the big clock, the midlevel church "As- 
sumption of the Virgin Mary" with its remarkable wood- 
carved iconostasis make for fine accents in Bansko's 
atmosphere. Also noteworthy are the museum houses 
and collections, souvenir shops and romantic holiday 
residences, hotels and taverns cuddled in the narrow and 
picturesque streets. 


The thing that attracts hundreds of tourists to Bansko 
is the unique combination of natural beauty, climate and 
mineral waters of the town, as well as its atmosphere, 
typical of the Bulgarian National Revival. 


From 8 to 13 of August 2005 Bansko will be 

centre of International 
Exposition and tourist market- contracting " 
Mountain, eco, balneological, and balneo-en- 
ergy tourism". Bansko is the most dynamic 
developing Bulgarian mountain resort and 
winter and ski tourism leader having own past, 
rich culture and historical heritage, original mu- 
seums, folklore, and crafts. Bansko is situated 
in South-Western Bulgaria, surrounded by the 
mountain chains of Pirin, Rila and Rhodopes 
and thermal sources. In the mountainsides are 
situated the best ski centre in Bulgaria. Orga- 
nizers : Municipality of Bansko, Daker Ltd and 
Tourism and Recreation magazine 

For more information and participation : 


1 000 Sofia 

3 Stara planina Str. 

tel: +359 2/ 981 82 24; +359 2/ 980 66 98; fax:+359 2/ 

98067 1 

Unique are also the numerous mountain massifs and 
reserves. The town is the gateway to the most attractive 
part of Pirin with its symbols - the wild goat and the edel- 
weiss. The incredible relief formations that attract Bul- 
garian and foreign tourists are: the Koncheto, the Ban- 
ski Suhodol circus with one of the few snow-patches in 
Bulgaria, the Bunderitsa and Kazana caves, which are 
among the deepest in Bulgaria, the Yulen nature reserve 
and the crystal lakes - more than 100 in number. 

Thirteen major mountain routes and seventeen sec- 
ondary ones have been developed within the territory of 
the Pirin National Park to serve the purposes of summer- 
time tourism. Rock scramble is allowed on six sites. In 
the high alpine part of the mountain summer-time accom- 
modation for tourists is offered in eight mountain chalets 
and five shelters. 

Bansko has specific climate. The Aegean-Sea waft 
combined with the crystal clear water of Pirin attract lots 
of tourists during the hot summer days. 

The warm mineral water springs in the villages of Do- 
brinishte and Banya are with proven healing properties. 
They are a good precondition for development of spa 
treatment in the municipality. 

The exceptional architectural style typical of the Bul- 
garian national-revival period and the historical and cul- 
tural heritage of the town create favourable conditions 
for development of congress and cultural tourism in 



The town nestling In the most beautiful alpine part of 
the 'mountain of gods', Pirin, offers excellent conditions 
for mountain sports and tourism. 

Unlike the other winter resorts, Bansko offers tourist 
accommodation in the town only, where there are 4200 
beds. The local people's hospitality is well known. They 
mostly meet tourists in their small family hotels and 
guesthouses, which are now 34, but their number has 
been on the increase recently. The resort has seven 
three-star and eight four-star hotels; a five-star hotel is 
under construction, too. 

In winter a modern cabin lift takes skiers from the 
town to the Bunderishka Polyana area. There is a way 
station at Chalin Valog. A cabin capacity is 2400 peo- 
ple per hour. 

Apart from the cabin lift, there is also an asphalt- 
covered road from Bansko to the Vihren chalet, which 
connects the ski-zone in the alpine part of the moun- 
tain with the town. The road was repaired this summer. 
A ski path has been made from the first lift station to 
the Bunderishka Polyana area and skiers use it to race 
downhill to the resort. The ski path will be covered with 
snow with artificial snow machines throughout the win- 
ter season. 

A quad-chair lift equipped with transparent plastic 
helmets started operating for the first time in Bulgaria 
last season in Bansko. The helmets protect skiers from 
the wind in the higher parts of the mountain. 

The Austrian company Doppelmayer is the manu- 
facturer of all new ski facilities in Pirin: a cabin lift, three 
quad-chair lifts, two ski tows of the anchor type with 

capacity of 900 persons per hour, children's facilities. 

The concessionaire Yulen JSC has projected a mo- 
bile revolving path for the youngest skiers, as well as 
new amusement trains and a kindergarten. 

The facilities servicing the ski runs in the Shiligar- 
nika area, on the plateau of the Todorka peak and the 
Chalin Valog area have been repaired and are in good 
condition for the forthcoming tourist season. 

In the ski-zone whose centre is Bankso there 
are 14 ski runs of different levels of difficulty at 
the disposal of skiers. Two more ski runs are to 
be added to them this year, with two new ski lifts, 
which are being set up. The ski runs are clean and 
ready. They have markings and are foolproof. 24- 
hour servicing of ski runs has been provided, using 
snow tamping machines and the ten snow groom- 
ers available. 

New possibilities are opened up for snowboarders 
with the special half-pipe facility. 

The most modern chip card system provides ac- 
cess to the cabin lift and the other ski facilities in the 
zone through automatic opening of the entranceway 
when the card is regularly validated. A deposit is paid 
for every card, which is refunded at the end of the day, 
on returning the card. 

Large-scale construction is going on in the resort. 
In 2004 alone the municipal authorities have given 
permission for building of 70 hotels. Most of them are 
in the new rest and recreation zone in the Gramadeto 
area in the town environs. For this reason the munici- 
pal authorities' priorities are: building of the necessary 
roads and infrastructure, water and electricity supply 
for the new buildings, providing of car parks and good 
road traffic organisation. 

Today's construction contains elements of the typi- 
cal architectural style of Bansko. The new hotels and 
complexes are built with materials that are traditional 
for the town - wood and round stone, which helps pre- 
serve the architectural styles of the town; and its cen- 
tral part built in a style typical of the national-revival 
period remains unchanged and is kept as a monument 
of culture. 

A lot of old recipes have been preserved and the 
present-day inhabitants of Bansko prepare delicious 
specialities. Guests can taste the culinary speciali- 
ties typical of the season and Bansko in the famous 
taverns. They are more than 150 and are with an- 
tique furniture in the old style of Bansko — another 
traditions from the past, which has been revitalised 


Sports and cultural calendar of Bansko 

The sports events and the long list of cultural hap- 
penings in Bansko ensure pleasant experiences for 
the guests of the town throughout the year. 

The small town of the Bulgarian national revival 
hosts a number of big sports competitions in both 
summer and winter. 

Some of the traditional annual sports competitions 
are: the International Arm Wrestling Tournament car- 
ried out in May every year, the International Football 
Tournament for the Tanne Cup, again in May, the Re- 
publican Orienteering Championship, the high cross- 
country capability car racing and others. 

The sports calendar of Bansko for the 2004-2005 
winter season includes the traditional ski alpine dis- 
cipline starts for the PIRIN and KAPI national cups 
— in February for children and in April for men and 

Bansko will host again the prestigious biathlon 
events, the alpine starts for the BALKAN OPEN CUP, 
the international extreme skiing and snowboarding 
competition, the republican snowboard champion- 
ship, the white-sport veterans' championship and 

Bansko has an extremely rich catalogue of cultural 
events. A part of them have preserved the traditions 
in folklore, customs, woodcarving, painting and are of 
regional importance. These are the holidays of Bans- 
ko's tradition celebrated in May every year and on the 
Day of Bansko, 5th October. 

Tourists accept with great interest the annual cu- 
linary exhibition of Bansko's dishes and specialities, 
the Easter and Christmas celebrations, the New- Year 
kukeri (mummers) competition, the numerous folk 
concerts and Bansko national costume reviews, the 
religious and everyday traditions preserved up till 

With its centuries-old culture inherited from the 
past and with its various cultural forums carried out 
here, the mountain resort may freely call itself a FES- 

The festivals hosted by Bansko are quite differ- 
ent in nature and themes. In Between Three Moun- 
tains is a folklore festival for authentic Macedonian 

songs. Both Bulgarian and 
foreign singers, mostly from 
the neighbouring countries 
Greece, Macedonia, Serbia 
and Turkey perform in it. The 
festival is with over ten-year 
history and is carried out like 
a competition. 

So far, performers from 
over 20 countries have ap- 

peared on the stage of the prestigious international 
jazz festival. 

The big rock concert of stars of the 70s and 80s 
organised by TANNE Hotel, which continues for 8 
hours, has established itself as an annual event. 

The children's festival under the auspices of 
TANNE Hotel gives an opportunity to young talents 
from the municipality of Bansko to perform and make 
their talent known. 

Everything the visitor discovers here - history, cul- 
ture, traditions and customs, specific cuisine, ancient 
architectural style, authentic folklore, unbelievable 
humour and rich literature, makes the small mountain 
town from the national revival a peculiar symbol of 
the Bulgarian spirit and arouses interest in it. This is 
where its magnetism lies. No other town offers pos- 
sibilities for mountain tourism and winter sports and 
competitions, for congress, eco and country tourism, 
for alpinism and spa treatment, angling, mountain cy- 
cling, summer and winter walking tours in the moun- 
tain... And the mountain is rich in crystal clear lakes 
and natural sites, and offers fascinating routes. This 
is why thousands of tourists pass through this place 
to rediscover Bansko and Pirin - two names associ- 
ated forever with the unique magnetic power of genu- 
ine beauty. 

Zdravka Milchova 
Vaklina Todorova 









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State and local authorities, and companies with strong positions on the world markets have held out their hands to 
each other to put a new destination on the map of tourism. It is situated in one of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria 
- the Rila mountain, the most abundant in rivers, streams and lakes, whose highest peak is rising above all other 
mountain peaks on the Balkans and poses a challenge to all lovers of tourism and extreme sports. Its centuries-old for- 
ests white with snow in winter are magnificent to look at and have always inspired poets and writes. One of them says 
that they give forth the sensation of youth and eternity of real beauty. During the summer it is possible to see animal 

and plant species that can only live close 
to the stone of Rila and in their preserved 
natural habitat. 

The Samokov - Borovets - Beli Iskar 
resort-and-tourist destination project has 
already made its first steps. The munici- 
pality of Samokov, some known Bulgarian 
companies and investors will register a 
company. Businesspersons from foreign 
countries, too, have taken interest in build- 
ing the destination. Leading companies on 
the world market tender for contracts for 
building aerial lift equipment. One of them 
is Italy. The natural beauty of Rila has con- 
quered the hearts of foreigners and there 
are British who are already buying prop- 
erty in Iskrovere - an area whose name 
comes from the great number of rivers 
and streams running round pretty villag- 
es. There the intransient traditions of the 
Balkan people have been preserved, one 
of them being their preference for home- 
made strawberry, raspberry and blueberry 
jams. One of the attractions of eco tourism 

-' - : 

is the possibility of having delicious breakfast of freshly 
picked fruit prepared over the fire of the hearth. 

Super Borovets enjoys the advantage of being in prox- 
imity to the capital of Bulgaria. It is 20 km from the mineral 
springs and modern swimming pools, and it only takes 
a few hours to reach the imposing Rila Monastery. The 
project includes building up of lift facilities to connect the 
mountain with the famous skiing centre and resort Bo- 
rovets and the town of Samokov, which has its cultural 
sites, too. A five-star hotel will be built in the heart of the 
mountain at an altitude of 1600 m above the sea level, 

which will afford a fine view of the mountain peaks and 
the pulsing life of the populated places below. Architects 
have taken into account the different tourists' preferences 
with regard to ski runs - some are to be steeper and dif- 
ficult, while beginners will be able to go downhill along 
the gentle ski paths. They will not be able to bathe in the 
Seven Lakes called the 'Eyes of Rila' because of the low 
temperature of their crystal clean water, but they will be 
able to get charged with energy and will gather impres- 
sions that will make them feel warm in their strenuous 
daily round. The virgin nature has long attracted tourists 
who are not admirers of hotel comfort and luxury. What 
they look forward to is the campf ire whose warmth has at- 
tracted other sensation-seekers, too, the romance of the 
guitar and the flavour of barbecue. If you are one of these 
tourists, don' t forget to put your warm sweater, which 
your mum knitted last year, as well as your comfortable 
shoes in your backpack, because the mountain slopes 
will certainly entice you into visiting them. Once you have 
read these lines carefully, it is not a bad idea to set out to 
the nearest place where you can buy a ticket to Bulgaria 
and please your dearest with a Christmas present - a 
trip to Bulgaria. Borovets is 70 km from Sofia airport and 
there is convenient transport. 
Haven't you set out yet?! 

Desislava Stoyanova 


Until recently the region of Strandja was little known as 
a tourist destination, of course not counting the Black-Sea 
coast. Today a number of villages in Strandja develop suc- 
cessfully country, cultural and eco tourism within the terri- 
tory of the Strandja Natural Park. 


The Strandja periwinkle (Rhododendron pontlcum) is listed 
in the Red Book of Bulgaria. In Europe it is only spread in the 

Strandja Natural Park and in the Turkish part of the moun- 
tain. This shrub is a peculiar bridge between the "ancient 
life" times (from the last glaciations of the Tertiary) and 
the present day. It is found as evergreen undergrowth in 
beech-tree forests and bursts into bloom in the beginning 
of June. Its pontic species grows only here and in the re- 
gion of the Caucasian Mountain. 

The museum of history in Malko Turnovo is lo- 
cated in 3 old local houses (owned by the well-known lo- 
cal Dyakovs family) and is one of the 100 national tour- 
ist sites. It contains exhibits from the Thracian and the 
Roman periods (5th - 3rd centuries BC) - gas lamps 
decorated with pictures of animals, odoriferous-oil glass 
vessels and bronze safety pins. The only craft preserved 
in these lands until now - carpet making, has been pre- 
sented, too. Of interest are also the photos of beehive 
tombs - sanctuaries, including the most imposing one 
in the Mishkova Niva area, called 'Heroon', which is the 
second biggest after Perperikon. A Thracian chieftain is 
supposed to have been buried there. A Roman villa was 
discovered next to it. Another such tomb dating from the 
same period can be seen in the Propada area. 

In one of the museum-houses there is a rich natural 
collection prepared under the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiver- 
sity Conservation Programme. The region is the natural 
habitat of wild boars, roe deer, red deer, jackals, wood- 
cocks and pigeons. The major migratory path Via Pontica 
passes over the mountain and near the Atanasovsko lake 
there is a special bird observatory for watching the 257 
bird species. The most typical of them are Black stork, 
Egyptian vulture, Grey-headed woodpecker, eagles, 
Dalmatian pelican, Pygmy cormorant, etc. Strandja has 
the richest vertebrate fauna represented by 261 spe- 
cies, of which 40 freshwater and transitory fish specie 

such as Carp, shad (Alosa caspia bulgarica Drensky), 
Balkan trout, Sea zander and others. The coastal strip 
of land abounds in 48 fish species. Centuries-old natu- 
ral oak- and beech-tree forests occupy 88% of the park 
area. There are 56 endemic plant species, which enjoy 
spread only here. The most interesting of them are: peri- 
winkle, whortleberry, yew-tree, heather, oak-tree, medlar- 
tree, common heather, oriental beech, the Mediterranean 
shrub Cistus salvifolius L. and a number of others. Prob- 
ably because of its extremely great plant variety, the park 
ranks first \n Europe. 


It was declared open in 1995 and is the largest pro- 
tected area in the country (1161 sq. km). The park oc- 
cupies the Bulgarian part of the mountain with an out- 
let on the sea. The whole municipality of Malko Turnovo 
and parts of the municipalities of Tsare\/o and Primorsko 
are located within its territory, incorporating a total of 21 
towns and villages with a population of about 8000. In the 
park there are 5 reserves: Silkosia (the first reserve in 
Bulgaria), Tisovitsa, Sredoka, Vitanovo and the Uzunbu- 
zhak biosphere reserve. The karst region comprises also 
12 protected areas. The highest peak in the Bulgarian 
part of the Strandja Mountain is Golyamo Gradishte with 
an altitude of 710 m above the sea level. In good weather 
the Bosphorus can be seen from it. 

An undoubted hit of the last tourist season was the 
village of Brashlyan. It is an architectural and historical re- 
serve. Here you can see 18th - 19th century. Here is also 
the St. Demetrius church from the end of 17th century, 
the monastery school, the ethnographic collection and the 
visitor's centre of Natural Park Strandja. The neighbour- 
ing village of Stoilovo is known for the greatest number of 
donkeys in the whole area and for its donkey safari. Our 
walk is long and is quite an attraction. Every donkey must 
have its guide because otherwise it will just go back home 
to eat and will refuse to follow the route. 

One of the most vivid proofs that the mountain has 
preserved the pagan rituals of Thracians is fire dancing. 
Even to this day its centre has been the Village of Bulgari 
ethnographic reserve. The ritual is performed there every 
year during the celebration of the Day of St. St. Constan- 
tine and Elena. On this day the nestinars (fire dancers) 
take out 3 icons from their so-called konak (chapel) and 
go round the church with them. Then they offer sacrifice 
and dance on glowing embers. In the Kamaka (stone) 
area there is a Thracian sanctuary cut in the rock, which 
is from before 3000 years. The rock solar circles for the 
sacrificial animal offering have been preserved. The name 
of the place comes from a big mushroom-shaped stone 
with a small opening beneath. The legend says that those 

who manage to squeeze through the hole are absolved of 
their sins. An impressive panoramic view is opened from 
the Kamaka and one can see the Golyama Papia peak in 
the distance, near Tsarevo. The name derives from the 
Greek word for 'peak'. 

On the way to Gramatikovo we cross the 147 km long 
Veleka River, which is the cleanest in the country. Trout 
breed in the upper course of the river. In its 10 kilome- 
tre-long part from the village of Brodilovo to the mouth, 
the river is navigable. At the point of its flowing into the 
sea it forms beautiful narrow sand strips. Then we pass 
through the Kachul area where there are several bamboo 
plantations. The biggest holy spring in Strandja, Inipa- 
sha, whose water has healing properties, is found here. 
Those who have come to seek cure leave some of their 
clothes on the rocks for health and luck. Quite attractive 
is also the Gorska Sbirka area, which has a small cor- 
ner with a lot of photos and a collection of life-sized taxi- 
dermy mounts of animals and birds. The name of one 
of the best-planned populated places in the region with 
a game breeding station, Gramatikovo, derives from the 
Geek word for "literate man". The chapel, which is not 
more than 4 km away, can be reached in jeeps and on 
foot. In 1870 the krjalis (a then Turkish army of irregu- 
lars and mercenaries) destroyed the place inhabited by 
monks, but in five-ears' time it was restored and sancti- 
fied by a local pilgrim woman, who had had a dream of 
its revival. Beneath the chapel there is a cave with three 
branches and in one of them there had been a holy spring 
with healing properties of its water. You can take a photo 
near the chapel, on the background of a venerable oak- 
tree from the Tertiary Era. The Midsummer Day is one of 
the most respected holidays of Thracian pagan culture in 
these lands. 

About 400 people, half of them retired, live in the village 
of Brodilovo, which is situated at the foot of the Golyama 
Papia peak. About 30 of them engage in tourism. The 
name of the village derives from the Bulgarian word brod 
(ford) because of the ford where the Veleka River, which 
runs near the village, can be crossed wading. Citizens of 
Sofia and foreigners, including a well-know contemporary 
British writer, have bought a lot of the uninhabited houses 
in the village. 

Tourists are offered three circular routes - small, me- 
dium and big. For example, the big one includes safari 
in jeeps to virgin forests and encounters with zelenika. 
After walking for thirty minutes you will reach the Milekop 
area with a fountain, a shed used also as a dining room 
and a watering trough for the game. The eco trail here 
has become a fact owing to the Kingdom of Monaco's 
Programme, which provides possibilities for development 
of cycling tourism. 

In the Harmanya area there is a shed with a wonderful 
view to the village. Women dressed in national costumes 
meet visitors with folk songs and dances, demonstrat- 
ing the Midsummer Day tradition. Then the visitors get 
on donkey-drawn carts, pass along the bridge over the 
Veleka River, and stop at the sawmill in Brodilovo. 

The hospitable and friendly inhabitants of Brodilo- 
vo invite visitors in one of their country cottages used 
for accommodation, where tourists can taste delicious 
homemade specialities such as fresh vegetable salad, 
homemade yoghurt and cow milk, Strandja haricot beans 
cooked in a pot, small flat loaf with a mixture of ground 
dried herbs, salt and paprika, cheese and egg pasty, 
homemade biscuits, and all these accompanied by home- 
made grape brandy (rakiya). 


About Bulgaria 




Clean and calm sea with shallow sloping sandy bottom, wide beaches with fine-grain golden sand, venerable 
forests and numerous mineral springs. All these features make the Northern Black Sea coast an attractive place for 
Bulgarian and foreign holiday-makers. Even the most refined requirements will be satisfied by the modern resorts of 
Zlatni Piassatsi, Albena, Riviera, Roussalka, Slanchev Den, St. St. Konstantin and Elena. The greatest fans of natural 
beauty and historical places can find peace in the Balchik botanical garden or the museum at Kaliakra horn. Exotic 
nature, rich history, modern construction - this is what our northern Black Sea offers. 


Picturesque bays and whimsical rocks, spacious beaches with sand dunes and warm sea create the attractive force 

of the Bulgarian Southern 
Black Sea Coast. Wonderful 
nature in combinations with 
modern construction - this 
is the magic of the holiday 
villages of Elenite, Slanchev 
Bryag, Nessebar, Sozopol... 
To the north long indented 
coast line is bordered by the 
farthest spurs of the Balkan 
range and to the south - by 
the heights of the Strandzha 
Mountain. Even nowadays 
the unique culture in Stran- 
dzha is a part of the atti- 
tudes and habits of Ahtopol, 
Tsarevo, Kiten, Primorsko. 
In restaurants and bars for- 
eign tourists are enchanted 
by the unique artistic atmo- 
sphere of the Strandzha 
fire-dances. History, culture, 
nature and luxury combined 
together - this is our south- 
ern Black Sea coast. 





Executive Director of Holiday Club Rusalka 

One of the pearls of Russalka Holidays tourist 
holding is the holiday club Russalka - Elite, lo- 
cated 90 km northeast of Varna. Situated in the 
nature reserve Tauk Liman (Bird's Bay), amidst a 
picturesque oak forest, near the popular national 
historic reserves of Yailata and Cape Kaliakra. 
The small sheltered sand beaches, water caves, 
crystal-clear see water in which dolphins play, 
rare flora, numerous bird species and archaeo- 
logical monuments dating back millennia, create 
an incomparable atmosphere for wonderful holi- 


on vacagifpor on, 
luxurious, but 
affordable, Pilar 
hotel is the b 


to stay in 


. . — ^ 

42 Bogoridi str. 

tel.: +359 56/ 846 294 t 

fax: +359 56/ 846 296 



The toponym is of an ancient Bulgarian origin, but it 
was not until the middle of the 16th century that it was of- 
ficially recognized. In the beginning of the 17th century, 
by old tradition kept alive over the centuries and accepted 
by the Ottomans, a town with the new name of Balchik 
was built on the ruins of Kravuna. It was declared a dis- 
trict centre under a Sultan's firman. 

Soon after 1847, the Bulgarian centres of spiritual 
culture were burnt down. However, those were the 
times of the Bulgarian National Revival, which had 
great impact on events, so in 1866-1870 they were re- 
stored. In 1872, 7000 subjects of the Sultan - Bulgar- 
ians, Turks, Greeks, Jews and Gagauzi, inhabited the 
place. The town had already become a 'cosmopolitan' 

iew fr6m the palace 

centre and conditions were conducive to the forma- 
tion of a stable Bulgarian community, whose concern 
was to be opening of schools and building of churches. 
That became possible under the protection of the emi- 
nent patriot of Balchik, granddad Koicho Raichov, born 
in Tryavna. 

In the modern history of Bulgaria the town is known as 
one of the first 66 districts and district centres. Between 
1879 and 1959 it was the centre of one of the wealthi- 
est and most prosperous districts. In the beginning of the 
19th century 7 joint-stock companies were already oper- 
ating there - wine making and leather factories, hops and 
tobacco processing factories, two flourmills and stone 
quarries. #" 

etnographic museum 

Education developed successfully, too. The St. St. Cyril and Methodius district 
library was opened; a symphonic orchestra and a town choir were set up, and the 
Chernomorets Sports Society was founded. 

Today the town of Balchik is a well-known international resort with its rich 
historical past and sites, incredible architectural style of its buildings, beautiful coun- 
tryside and kind and hospitable people. In proximity to the town are the world-known 
Black-Sea resorts of Albena and Golden Sands, the monuments of history in Varna, 
the Aladja Monastery and the Stone Forest natural phenomenon. 

In the town there are a lot of museums and art galleries, monuments and 
churches. A really impressive place is the Museum of History and Archaeology with 
its unique numismatic collection and exceptional objects of the ancient and mediae- 
val culture of past civilizations, as well as the ethnographic house where the urban 
and rural everyday life have been presented. Another site worthy to visit is the na- 
tional-revival complex comprising the restored school from the same epoch, next to 
the St. Nicholas Church with its original icons made by icon-painters from the Samo- 
kov and Tryavna schools, and the ruins of the ancient and mediaeval town of Dio- 
nysopolis and Kravuna. The art gallery has one of the best collections in the country. 
Nowadays the town is also a centre of a number of traditional cultural events and 


In 1924, Queen Maria of Romania was fascinated by 
that heavenly nook - the Bulgarian piece of land, nest- 
ling between the white rocks of Balchik and the sea. 
The centuries-old trees, the wild flowers, the brooks 
and the birds, even the old mills that had long died away 
and the dried stone fountains enchanted the First Lady 
of Romania. 

The Italian architects Augusto and Amerigo de- 
signed the Peaceful Nest. The extravagant minaret im- 
parts some oriental charm to the palace. 

The old mills were restored and the new build- 
ings were a continuation of the architectural style of the 
past - their lower parts were made of Balchik stone and 
their roofs were covered with Turkish tiles. 

The Swiss garden designer Jules Janine created 
the magnificent vegetable kingdom of the park. 

The queen's stone throne is the favourable place of 

st. nikola church 




The Rhodope Mountains have always attracted scientists' 
attention to their flora and fauna, natural resources and beau- 
ties, to their folklore art and culture, and perhaps to the most 
valuable thing there - THE BROAD-MINDEDNESS AND FAS- 
been talking about the Rhodopians. Even today Orpheus' song, 
taken up by the wind, floats over forests and valleys and fasci- 
nates the people. And the unfailing glow of Spartacus' sword 
shows the Rhodopians' bravery in their struggle for happier and 
healthier life. Yet there is a recess in the Rhodopes, mysterious 
and new, enchantingly beautiful and everlasting - the SMOLY- 
AN region. 

Smolyan is in the centre of the Middle Rhodopes and is with 
an altitude of 800 to 1 1 50 meters. Nice forests and green mead- 
ows, picturesque waterfalls and caves, flowers with unique 
beauty surround the town, which is filled with the eternal smell 
of the Mountain. But while the town of Smolyan with its quarters 
fascinates visitors with its unique architectural style, road sys- 
tem and other facilities, the environs of Smolyan, according to 
scientific research, contribute to 


The scientific research done has helped to find out that there 
is a highest degree of ionisation in the areas of the Malkata and 
Golyamata (small and big) rocks, near the Kriva River, beneath 
the Snezhanka peak, near the sanatorium in the village of Levo- 
chevo and mostly in the areas round the Smolyan lakes. These 
are the negatively charged ions produced by the local BREEZE, 
cosmic radiation, ore and mineral depos- 
its and natural resources, and by a num- 

ber of other factors such as the running 
white water streams, the resins and odour 
of the Mountain. So, tracing the influence 
of the above factors and the change in the 
direction of their effect, we have arrived 
at the conclusion that Rhodopians owe 
their health, strength, beauty and longev- 
ity to these natural factors. The effect of 
negative ionisation is the strongest from 
to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m., when ions 
range from 600 to 6000 per cubic centime- 
tre, which is the major factor influencing 
people's physiology and psych. This is why 
we recommend going out for walks along 
the narrow, beautiful and sweet smelling 
paths at the time mentioned above. Obser- 




vations have proved that lovers of the mountain visiting these 
areas can feel the impact of the fresh air with healing properties 
even on the second day of their stay. According to information 
supplied by Dr Baltov - a long-standing physician in Pampo- 
rovo, people having eczemas get cured of them after a 14-16 
days' stay, without using medicines. The only thing they have 
to do is go out for walks following the indicated routes and the 
eczemas disappear by themselves. Moreover after the recom- 
mended regular walks in these areas, tiredness and headache 
disappear; high blood pressure, bronchial asthma, skin-deep 
wounds and ulcers are successfully treated. Complaints of neu- 
roses disappear, too. In a number of scientific works abroad it is 
pointed out that ions are successfully applied in the treatment of 
bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis and coronary insufficiency. 

It is known that negative ionisation in the world is provoked 
artificially. This is done in big cities, parks, plants, laboratories 
and other places designed for rest and recreation. However 
these artificially caused phenomena are short-lived and do not 
have the same effect as the one of the natural generator in the 
Smolyan region. It will not be an exaggeration to say that not 
only in Bulgaria, but also in Europe at large there is not a place 
and a natural phenomenon like this. 

Along with the mountain breeze, of great importance for the 
production of negatively charged ions in the air are also the run- 
ning rivers and white water streams. And the whole area round 
Smolyan abounds with such brooks, streams, rivers and lakes. In 
all these cases the negative ions remain in the air and the posi- 
tive ones go into the soil and water. This phenomenon is just the 
opposite of the phenomenon observed in coastal areas where 
the positive ions are in the air and the negative ones remain in 
the water. Of special importance for the negative ionisation is 
also the FORMATION OF RESINS, which not only saturates the 
atmosphere with aromatic substances, but also cools the air. In 
these areas one breathes better and feels satisfied. Therefore, it 
is not accidental that the Smolyan region is indicated as a leader 
by number of centenarian and long-lived people. 

This short article does not deal with the scientific grounds 
of the research because of the great number of mathematical 
formulae and other theoretical conclusions. It only focuses on 
the positive effects of the phenomenon, because in our busy 
and insecure times, when environmental pollution has reached 
such high levels, the only OASES left for 'our security and 
health' are the regions mentioned above. 

About Bui 




The curative properties of the Bulgarian mineral wa- 
ters were known and used even in antiquity. Ancient medi- 
cal complexes were built near the mineral springs: Hisar 

- ancient Augusta, Kyustendil - Pautalia, Bourgass mineral 
baths - Aque Kalite, later Thermopolis, Sapareva Banya - 
Germaneia, Sliven baths - Tanzos and Sofia - Ulpia Serdika. 

All kinds of mineral water known on the planet can be found 
within the territory of Bulgaria. The over six hundred hydromin- 
eral sources are with a flow rate of 270 million litres per twenty- 
four hours. Most of them are warm or hot, springing from a great 
depth, which guarantees their purity. 

The Bulgarian mineral waters are: average and strongly 
mineralised. They are applied for internal (drinking) spa treat- 
ment of diseases of the kidneys and the urinary system, of the 
gastro-intestinal tract - the liver and the gall bladder, of the inter- 
nal secretion glands and chronical intoxications. 

Macroingredient waters - when used in sufficient quantity they 
may have a pharmadynamic effect similar to that of medicines. 

Sulphate-containing mineral waters - especially effective for 
diseases of the liver and the gall bladder. 

Ferrous sulphate mineral waters - having good curative ef- 
fect in cases of anaemia. 

Salty mineral waters - best for external spa treatment of 
rheumatic, degenerative diseases and inflammatory processes, 
as well as of traumatic, orthopaedic, neurological and gynaeco- 
logical diseases. 

Gas waters containing hydrogen sulphide and radon waters 

- their curative effect is biostimulative. 






We leave Sofia in the afternoon to get to Bozhentsi at dusk and spend the night there. While on the way our guides 
from the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism turn off the road a little to take us to the village of Beli Osam, 7 km 

from Troyan. Our hosts are expect- 
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ing us in the Stomnite guesthouse 

- a fascinating building from 1925. In 
the same yard there is an even older 
family house built in 1850. Their new 
owner, Tsvetan Dimitrov, has under- 
taken to restore the houses and make 
them suitable for tourists. 

We arrive in Bozhentsi, which is 
8 km from Gabrovo. Although the 
place is an architectural reserve, its 
cobblestone streets are bustling with 
life. Twenty-five guesthouses can ac- 
commodate 200 people at a time, but 
thank God, this never happens. We 
spend the night in the Hadji Velinov's 
Inn and the next morning, after we 
have seen the museum, had coffee 
made in hot sand and tasted the tradi- 
tional byalo sladko (a sweet prepared 
from sugar, eggs, vanilla, glucose and 
walnuts), we set off to the higher parts 
of the Balkan. 

On the mountain ridge, only 26 km 

from Gabrovo is the Uzana area - a 

vast meadow amongst centuries-old 

beech-tree forest. According to spe- 

cialists' calculations, the geographical 


centre of Bulgaria is at this place. A metal sign has been placed here 
and as a rule, tourists have their photos taken standing next to it. The 
Prima-S hotel puts us up for the second night. There is no danger of 
feeling bored at Uzana - you can have a walking tour organised for 
you, hire a bicycle, ride on horseback, play court tennis or you can 
simply sunbathe on the soft grass. Winter sports-lovers can go snow 
jetting or skiing - in the area there are some easy ski runs and one 
that is really serious, the longest ski track in the Balkan Range (1 100 

It takes 2 hours to get from Uzana to the Shipka Pass walking. On 
the way, wild nature lovers can enjoy different representatives of the 
vegetable and the animal kingdom, which the whole territory of the 
Bulgarka National Park abounds of. This national park was declared 
open in 2002 and is the newest in the country. 

Having passed Shipka, we head for the village of Turnichane situ- 
ated in the heart of the Valley of Roses. It is known for one of the 
biggest rose distilleries in the country, built in 1909 by the local mer- 
chant and factory-owner Encho Bonchev. In 1992 his inheritors had 
their ownership of the enterprise restored and it started operating 
again. The museum has been preserved, there is also a small shop 
selling products of the distillery. Tourists visit this place all through 
the year, but the influx is the greatest in May when the rose-picking 
season begins and this continues till about 20th July, when work on 
lavender processing is over. 

The last stop on our itinerary is the village of Brestovitsa near Plo- 
vdiv, where wine is made literally in every house. One of the secrets 
is that grape gathering is done by hand; then barefoot girls trample 
down on it, pressing it to squeeze the juice. The wines of Bresovitsa 
owe their unique taste to this, as well as to the unique climatic condi- 
tions of the region. And this is where our tour ends. 

the geographic centre of Bulgaria 

T E R E V 

Hotel Shterev - Karlovo is in the centre of the pretty town of Karlovo 

situated in the heart of the Valley of Roses. The hotel is a three- 
storey building. On the first and the second floor, there are 5 three- 
bed rooms, 2 single and 14 double rooms. They all are standard size, 
have local heating and bathroom en-suite. On the third floor, there 
are 7 single and 6 double rooms. They have air-conditioning, tele- 
phone, mini-bar and cable te 

here is a restau- 


Bulgaria, 4330 Sopot, 
anevo area- 10 double lux rooms' 
tel.: +359 3134/6161, 
+359 3134/2025 

•T£ *>.< 1 1 1 1 

I * 1 1*1 41* I 

There are 10 double rooms and 2 suites and they all ha 


ence room seated for 25, barbecue for 20, a sports centre including 
swimming pool, a tennis court and a mini-football pitch, a keep-fit hall and 

a sauna. 



Bulgaria, 4330 Sopot 20 double rooms and 1 apartment. 
Address: Ivan Vazov4 str., tel.: +359 3134/ 2233 

.#. JA 


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Bulgaria, 4300 Karlovo 

it is 3 level hohsl with 20 double rooms/13 lux/ 

8 stngle rooms and 1 apartment. 

Address: Ns1, 20 Iuly Plaza 

to,: + 359 335/93 380 

Hotel Shterev - Sopot 
suite. The rooms 
The hotel offers a 

the town centre an 


:hroom en-suite and 
r park, a restaurant 
ence hall. 





Much greater is the interest in 
real estate in Bansko shown not 
only by Bulgarian investors and 
well-off admirers of the mountain 
resort, but also by foreigners. 

And the small town of the Bul- 
garian national revival can offer a 

Foreign investors, together 
with their Bulgarian partners show 
interest in the tourist business. A 
hotel complex, a holiday village 
and a block of flats are already 
under construction with foreign 
investments in the town environs. 

The first who gave the start in 
the hotelier business is the owner 
of the German hotel Tanne, the 
honorary citizen of Bansko, Man- 
fred Diehl. 

After his start, other foreign- 
ers, mostly British and Russians, 
have taken up building hotel facili- 
ties in the town of Bansko and in 
the village of Banya. 

At present the market offers 
land in the most attractive tourist 

zone in the town environs to foreigners who want to make 
investments together with Bulgarian partners. Rural prop- 
erty in the Gramadeto area is offered at the price of EUR 
80 to 120 persq. m. 

Foreigners mostly seek to buy old massive houses in 
Bansko built of wood and stone, with open verandas, yard 
fenced in two-meter stonewalls and heavy wooden gates. 
However only few such houses are on sale and demand 
is many times higher than supply. So far, old houses in 
Bansko have been bought by Italians, Russians, Germans, 
and British and even by a woman from South Africa. 

Foreign demand for land is insignificant since sale and 
purchase of land is limited by the existing legal regula- 

On the other hand however interest in ready flats is go- 
ing up. About 500 flats are under construction and many 
of them are sold "in the green". The first type includes flats 
in blocks of flats. Their prices vary between EUR 800 to 
1000 per sq. m. 

Holiday houses have been a hit this year. They are ho- 
tel-type flats included in buildings with their own fitness fa- 
cilities, reception, sauna, swimming pool and other extras, 
which their owners can use. The investor offers mainte- 
nance of the flat, cleaning and other services against pay- 
ment of an annual charge. When the owners are away from 
the town for a long time the investor lets out their house. 

Brand new holiday flats, which are the hit in Bansko, 
are sold at prices between EUR 1200 to 1300 per sq. m. 

The only village from the municipality where foreigners 
have bought property is Obidim - Greeks and British have 
bought a few country cottages there. 





The influx of tourists from Britain, Ireland, Japan, Ger- 
many and other countries to Bulgaria has grown bigger 
recently. Many of the foreigners buy houses and settle in 
Bulgaria. The peace and quiet, the natural beauties, the 
sea, the mountains and the diversity of mineral waters in 
the country attract them like a magnet. The good-natured 
Bulgarians with their well-known hospitality and warm 
smile, and the hearty welcome they give to them melt the 
ice in just a few days. All this makes foreigners feel as if 
they have lived in these towns and villages for years and 
that they have got into paradise. 

Many of them have made Bulgaria their second home 
owing to Tourism and Recreation magazine. Every day our 
editors receive messages to the editor's office e-mail ad- 
dress: from people asking us where it 
is good to settle, how to buy a house to advantage, which 
region is most suitable for their state of health, where they 
can practise their hobbies, etc. 

If you want to settle in Bulgaria, contact Tourism and 
Recreation magazine, which will live up to your expecta- 




Hit the mark 

Ethnographic Surreal Complex 

- Zlatograd - 7 p. 

Golf club - Ihtiman - IV cover 
Horse base Zdravets - v. Sk- 
ravena, Botevgrad - 25 p. 
Bokar - Sofia - 61 p. 
Bulgarian Property Investments 

- Sofia - 62, 65 p. 
Tourism Information Centre 

- Velico Tarnovo - 9 p. 


Valturs - Arbanasi - 58 p. 
Fantasy - Dobrich 59 p. 
Sterev tur - Karlovo, Sopot 
55 p. 

Romantika - Pleven 57 p. 
Anons - Sofia 58 p. 
Boroinvest - Sofia 57 p. 
Chris -Sofia 58 p. 
Elfy tour -Sofia 58 p. 
Kalini - Sofia 58 p. 
Over sun aviation - Sofia 57 p. 
Valery 90 - Sofia 57p. 
Stecom - Sozopol 59 p. 
Beni tour - Varna 58 p. 
CM 92 -Varna 58 p. 
Eley- Varna 58 p. 
Intertour - Varna 58 p. 
Prima tour - Varna 58 p. 
Varna Tourist Service - Varna 
57 p. 

Viktorina -Varna - 58 p. 
Olymp tour - Veliko Tarnovo 
-58 p. 


Drenikov - Sofia - 56 p. 
Union of Bulgarian Motorists 
Sofia - 56 p. 
MD - Sofia - 56 p. 


Amos Complex - v. Draginovo, 

Velingrad - 52 p. 

Boyansko hanche Sofia - 20 


Chepishev - Sofia 21 p. 

Cocktail bar Maraia - Sofia 
-15 p. 

Kristal - Sofia - 15 p. 
Sheraton - Sofia - 17 p. 


Vinpalas - Arbanasi - 36 p. 
Lotos - Balchik - 50 p. 
BHK Bankya - Bankya - 53 p. 
Baryakova mehana - Bansko 
-36 p. 

Bulgaria- Bansko - 37 p. 
Elitsa -Bansko - 38 p. 
Martin - Bansko - 38 p. 
Olymp - Bansko - 39 p. 
Perun - Bansko - 37 p. 
Piry - Bansko - 38 p. 

Rodina - Bansko - 39 p. 
Zornitza - Bahsko - 38 p. 
Pen Bro - v. Banya - 36 p. 
Zdravets Complex - Belitsa 
-39 p. 

Plaza - Burgas - 45 p. 
Zornica - Kasanluk - 27 p. 
Bris - Kiten - 45 p. 
Victoria - Pamporovo - 15 p. 
Rodopi - Plovdiv - 31 p. 
Nevrokop - Plovdiv - 31 p. 
Argo - Ribaritza - 36 p. 
Complex Rusalka - 45 p. 
DiMario - Simitli - 27 p. 
Amber -Sofia -22 p. 
Ametist - Sofia - 18 p. 
Atlantic - Sofia - 16 p. 
Champion - Sofia - 16 p. 
Edi- Sofia- 16 p. 
Eny - Sofia - 20 p. 
Geneva - Sofia - 20 p. 
Gloria Palase - Sofia - 22 p. 
Grand hotel Sofia - Sofia II 

Light -Sofia- 18 p. 
Maria Luisa - Sofia - 15 p. 
Olimp- Sofia- 19 p. 
Orbita - Sofia - 16 p. 
Park Hotel Moskva - Sofia 16 


Sara -Sofia- 16 p. 
Serdika- Sofia -21 p. 
Sun -Sofia- 18 p. 

Villa Stresov - Sofia - 22 p. 
Zlatna ribka - Sofia - 21 p. 
Amon Ra - Sozopol - 46 p. 
Lozite - Sozopol - 50 p. 
Aqua - Varna - 47 p. 
Elegance - Varna - 46 p. 
Koral - Varna - 50 p. 
Lilia - Varna - 46 p. 
Luna - Varna - 46 p. 
Oasis Complex - Varna - 47 p. 
Park Hotel Planet -Varna - 46 


Perfect - Varna - 2 p. 

Plaza - Varna - 50 p. 


Tourism and leisuretime exhibi- 
tion - Varna - 2 p. 
Galant - Varna - 62 p. 
Bui - Imot - Varna - 62 p. 
Mineral water Devin - III cover 
Sanident - Sofia - 59 p. 
Maystora i Margarita - Lorn 
59 p. 
Inter Argument - Plovdiv - 62 


Year 3. Edition 8 - (22) 

Special edition for WTM - London 






"Tourism & Recreation" Magazine 

Publisher Daker SPLtd 

Editor-in-chief: Dimitar Kirekchiev 

Deputy-in-chief: Vaklina Todorova 

Marketing & advertising manager: Katia Krasteva 

Team: Pavlina Ivanova, Svetla Georgieva,Violeta Hristova, 

Katya Krasteva; Koljo Dyankov, Lyuben Nenkov, 

Mian Zerinov 
Page design and layout: Daniel Peychev, Velin Saramov, 

Katerina Minkova 

Web design: Velin Saramov, Daniel Peychev 

Consultant: Milena Yovcheva /Lozana Switzerland/ 

3 5 

\? ' ■ 


Pricr: 3 * 

ISSN: 1312-448X 

Printed in Rodina Ltd 

Sofia, November 2004 

Bulgaria, 1000 Sofia, 3 Stara Planina Str., fl.2 

Tel: +359 2 981 8224, +359 2 980 66 98, 

Tel./Fax:+359 2 980 67 10 






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hourse riding club 
two tennis courts 
Swimming pool 
Basketball & Volleyball 

Football pitch 

Luxury hotel 


Night bar 

Swimming pool 
wo conference hal 
Sport Cente 

2050 I HUMAN, BULGARIA; 1 "6 Septemvri" str., 
TEL.: +359 (2) 981 09 25; +359 (2) 950 15 60; +359 (724) 35 30; TEL/FAX: +359 (724) 20 65;